For Juan Gonzalo Rose
And why else did we come
to this city, if not to walk
among seas of hate and fire,
among spurious words;
for what, if not to contemplate
misery’s muted beauty
and a fine silk tie
dancing suspiciously over it.
Solitude is comfortable.
in a city of ghosts
weigh the same as air
because nobody hears them.
Fill your glass and drink,
immerse yourself in the joy of forgetting,
distract that deep sadness,
tell all the kings of the land
that together they’re not worth a pound of manure.
You knew how to speak well of patios and summers.
You knew how to shamelessly sing those waltzes
that turned all fear, all anguish blue.
Your voice exists, nesting in the garden of dreams.
There is a way back from dead roses.
You said it and now I know.
And here we are, standing,
after throwing more and more papers into the bin,
a multitude of doodles and useless poems.
Ah, if only for a single day I had such clarity
and on forgetting (I could draw) another flower.
Write a poem about seas and mirrors
without worrying too much about seas and mirrors.
Talk about birds
without ever thinking of flying:
better yet, rid yourselves of certain feathers.
Sing looking toward the high groves,
but in winter, when they offer only bare branches.
Think about a city, an island, a street.
And do so with no ideas, following only a hunch,
desire, the ageless murmur of instinct.
Lose yourself in the night, love the night, fear the night.
And then face the day and once again the night.
Translated by Amy Olen